Saudi Arabia punishing Yemenis visiting Libya [Archives:2006/1000/Opinion]

November 20 2006

Yahya Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi
Well-informed sources in Sana'a said lately that that the Saudi authorities have circulated a secret list containing names of Yemeni personalities mostly thought to have relations with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and involved in terrorist operations and hostile activities. The sources, refusing to be identified, added that the Saudi authorities circulated the list among its security apparatuses especially in its southern governorates bordering Yemen, in addition to neighboring countries including Yemen, indicating the Yemeni authorities received a copy of the list.

The circulation of instructions stipulates to arrest any person trying to enter Saudi territories and Saudi Arabia can coordinate with the neighboring countries to have access to the wanted persons. The source said the instructions came in the wake of information Saudi Arabia obtained that there are persons who had traveled to Libya more than once and held meetings with Libyan intelligence authorities aimed at planning for terrorist acts and hostile activities hostile to the kingdom.

The source pointed out that among those names are senior Yemeni personalities, commercial and political, as well as sheikhs.

I say this piece of news has no hidden implications and meanings of the Saudi haughtiness and arrogance towards the Yemenis it is also clearly proves Saudi interference with Yemen's affairs. It is practicing its administration of our country as if it were one of its regions and the troubles and disturbances and destabilization of security it instigates. The Saudi Arabia prevention of Yemenis to visit an Arab country like Libya, and its leader President Gaddafi, and punishment of those who traveled to Libya is one of the prominent moves to tighten its grip on our country altogether, assuming that the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh does not represent but one of the Saudi Emirs from the Sedirs and southerners who were in Jizan, Najran and the like.

The Saudis cannot watch those who they imagine forming danger against them. It needs to deal with Yemen as an independent state and without considering the citizens of an independent state as wanted persons by it on charge of traveling to Libya and visiting President Gaddafi. The Saudis should recognize there is a Yemeni constitution stipulating freedom of travel for every citizen and that the authority in Sana'a has no right to arrest any citizen in response to demand by the Saudis. Why are we, the Yemenis, prevented from travel? Their regime prevents us to travel even to Iran just to satisfy them.

Why don't the Saudis deal with us as Gaddafi does – he did not ask any Yemeni not to travel to Saudi Arabia? Why does travel to Libya become a charge against us while thousands of Yemenis lived in Saudi Arabia and built it with their hands. They have not committed any terrorist acts. Now the regime has imposed house arrest on us and a siege so that we do not go to the land of God to work and live. Maybe the Saudis are looking for someone to attribute their internal problems to and to increase the oppression on people searching for the air of freedom away from the chains of despotism. At present we are prevented from traveling to Libya and Iran in response to the desire of Saudis and traveling to Syria and Lebanon is considered a charge behind the scenes. Maybe we will be prevented to travel to Iraq under the same excuse.

We wonder if the regime in Sana'a will reveal the names of those prevented from traveling to Saudi Arabia or to deal with the list as the implementer of orders, keeping them secret so that the apparatuses are able to arrest them. The wish is that the name of Saleh is not among the list because he travels to Libya and visits Gaddafi there.

Will the punishment against those be imprisonment, as happened to some of our sheikhs though they had official visa and service passports, or maybe harsher? Let's wait and see perhaps our real rulers are in Riyadh and not in Sana'a.

In order to destroy all these barriers I call on every Yemeni capable of traveling to Libya and its leader Gaddafi and also to Iran, Lebanon and Syria and to any country we want to visit. They have no right to prevent us from traveling wherever we want.

We also call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to move away from the Saudis and declare his freedom from their grip and declare Yemen as a free and independent country and also to oblige the Saudis to release our sheikhs.

Yahya Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi is a Member of Parliament and brother of deceased Sheikh Hussein Al-Houthi.